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Dean Anderson: Domestic violence hits home in SCV

SCV Voices

Posted: August 28, 2009 9:40 p.m.
Updated: August 29, 2009 4:55 a.m.
In reading some of the comments related to the latest example of a fatal domestic violence incident in SCV ("Murder-suicide victims identified, The Signal, Aug. 14), I'm struck with the reality of just how naive some are to the aspects of domestic violence.

While some want to argue over minutia in an individual story or the what-ifs, the fact is that domestic violence is prevalent in the Santa Clarita Valley, just as it is in every community.

We, as a civilized society, need to reach out or be available to those who are seeking help.

Does anyone really believe this incident of violence was the first act of domestic violence for the 79-year old man who shot and wounded his wife, then killed himself? I sincerely doubt it.

As Mary Ree pointed out, domestic violence is about power and control, not losing self-control or snapping. It is not caused by alcohol or bad economic times.

It is about a violent person using force, fear and/or intimidation to control another they are intimately involved with.

The first thing an abuser does is attack the self-esteem of the abused and isolate him or her to the point he or she believes there is no help out there.

The abuser usually follows a distinct pattern of escalating violence, both in its severity and frequency.

The ultimate control is over someone's life and in cases of domestic violence-related murder, the ultimate act of domestic violence.

The problem with domestic violence is that most victims suffer through it in silence for years, sometimes decades or a lifetime.

Save the children but let adults fend for themselves? No, you cannot save the children without saving the adults in domestic violence.

Domestic violence is learned behavior. Male children who witness domestic violence are very likely to become batterers and female children victims or batterers.

Intervention is needed and that is what the Domestic Violence Center of the Santa Clarita Valley provides.

It aids women and children and provide court-mandated training for convicted offenders in the hopes of ending the cycle of violence.

How does domestic violence affect us as a community? We're talking about it; we feel fear when it happens in our backyard.

Our children are in schools, sitting next to other children who are suffering silently with domestic violence occurring in their homes.

Those children are more likely to be violent and act out and when they get older, more likely to abuse alcohol and drugs.

And haven't we read enough stories over the years about the man who enters a store in the mall or goes armed to a church picnic and opens fire into the crowd, trying to kill his ex?

The Domestic Violence Center of the Santa Clarita Valley needs our help to fund the aforementioned programs as well as fund outreach to children in our primary, middle and high schools.

With the increase of teen girls reporting they have been the victims of violence by their boyfriends, can we afford to let this organization fold? I think not!

Our daughters deserve better and our sons need to know that it's not OK to use power and control in intimate relationships.

Dean Anderson, a Stevenson Ranch resident, is a retired Los Angeles Police Department officer, former board member of the Domestic Violence Center of the Santa Clarita Valley, and former volunteer mentor and counselor to people convicted on domestic violence. His column reflects his own views and not necessarily those of The Signal.


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